Grandmommy had baked me a cake. When I levered myself out of bed Thursday morning and shuffled to the kitchen for breakfast, it was waiting on the table, along with a nice card.
My reception of birthday greetings had begun an hour earlier, when I woke at six and checked my email. It was a great way to start the day.
Grandmommy and I drove to Augusta, bringing the cake and a bagful of yeast rolls. En route, Grandmommy told jokes and commented on the cotton fields, white for harvest--even the ones the picking machines had rolled through had "a good pickin' left". She said that when she was little, her daddy let the children keep the bolls they could find in the field after the harvest--they'd run to pick them up and then sell as many as they accumulated, "and that was our Christmas money." Now, the machines don't bind the white fluff into square bales, but push it into giant plastic wrapped short cylinders at the edges of the fields. These are twice as large as the similarly-shaped hay bales, and must weigh thousands of pounds apiece.
Rita and Brad called me just as we arrived in Augusta to say Happy Birthday.
We had enough food to feed a brigade. Mums had cooked the biggest turkey I'd ever seen, plus dressing, assorted other vegetables and sides, and desserts. And then her in-laws artived, all carrying as much again in tfoodstuffs. It was really incredible. We could have satiated fifty, and there were less than 15 total there. A good time sermed to be had by all, and between dinner and dessert John led the assembly in a chorus of "Happy Birthday" while my 13 candles spelling the same sentiment atop the cake burned. ("One for every three years," Grandmommy proclaimed.)
My boss phoned, and after Grandmommy and I had made it safely back to her house and played a couple of games of Scrabble I retired to email with another nice birthday greeting to bookend the day from my LDC.
Grandmommy is tougher, and has more stamina than a twenty-something. She raked over an acre's worth of leaves and pine straw today, bagged it and trundled it on a wherlbarrow to the storage shed in the back yard. I helped for several hours and was flat afterwards, while she kept bouncing along like the Energizer bunny. This despite a bag knee (she injured it six weeks ago, and it's puffy and purple again--she's promised to make a long-avoided doctor's appointment to see about it Monday). Grandmommy is always so cheerful, yet she's been talking a lot about "when I'm gone" lately. We are both too aware of the reality of death to wave it off, so I just nod and listen. It's not made me sad, exactly, talking about this, and Daddy and Granddaddy, mostly wistful.